Wednesday, September 30, 2015


Burgers have always been a favourite choice of everyone among the fast food, specially kids. One can easily make them at home without much effort with basic veggies always available in every kitchen. If you are fond of baking you should bake the buns at home too as they are much healthier without any preservatives added to them for increasing the shelf life. So make and enjoy your home made burgers with your choice of accompaniments and sauces and chips or French fries.

Burger buns ... as required (see the recipe for home made buns - HERE )
Potatoes ... 2 small
Carrots ..... 1 small
Green peas .. 1/2 cup
Fresh bread crumbs .. 1/4 cup + a little for coating.
Dry mint leaves ... 1/2 tsp (or few fresh leaves chopped finely)
Chilli powder ..... 1/2 tsp (adjust as you like)
Cumin powder ... 1/2 tsp
Salt .................. to taste
Oil .... to fry

For toppings:
Lettuce leaves - as needed
Carrot ......... grated
Mayonnaise .. 1 tbsp
Chilli sauce or tomato ketchup
Onion slices
Tomato slices
Sliced cheese (optional)
Cherry tomato .. for garnishing

1. Boil the vegetables and mash them.
2. Add salt, cumin powder, chilli powder, mint leaves, salt and bread crumbs. Mix well.
3. Make cutlets and coat them with bread crumbs. Fry them and set aside.
4. Make a salad with grated carrots, chopped lettuce leaves and mayonnaise.
5. Slice the burger buns and place the lettuce leaf on each base.
6. Keep a tomato slice and spoon some salad over it.
7. Place a fried burger and a slice of onion. Spoon some sauce of your choice.
8. Place the bun slice and garnish using a sate stick and cherry tomato.

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Panch Phoran, meaning five spices is a spice mix mostly used in Bengali Cuisine. Usually we use the whole spices but if you like you may crush them lightly before using too. Generally the spices are mixed in equal proportion but I prefer to reduce the quantity of fenugreek seeds as they are bitter. You can mix the spices in large quantity and store them for later use to make it convenient.

 Panch Phoran Ingredients:

Mustard seeds ... 1/2 tsp
Fennel seeds .... 1/2 tsp
Fenugreek seeds .. 1/4 tsp
Nigella / onion seeds ....... 1/2 tsp
Cumin seeds ...... 1/2 tsp

This quantity is for single use.
You can mix more quantity and store for later use.

See the recipe video

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Tuesday, September 29, 2015


This lovely laksa curry dish can be warming during cooler weathers.. the tangy, spicy noodle soup has delicious flavours of the herbs and spices from the  laksa paste which is the key ingredient  and also the fresh prawns and coriander. It makes a complete meal on its own and is quite filling... a treat for spicy food lovers like me .. I would highly recommend this dish if you enjoy spicy food.

Prawns ... 200 gms
Rice noodles .. 75 gms
Laksa paste ... 1 tbsp
Coconut milk ..1 cup
Bean sprouts ... half cup (long sprouts)
Snow peas .... 5-6 (cut diagonally)
Spring onion ... 1 stem (use the white part)
Coriander leaves .... handful (you can also use basil leaves )
Fish sauce .... 1 tbsp
Salt ... to taste
Sugar ... 1 tsp
Lemon wedges ... for garnishing
Oil ..... 2 tbsps (sesame or peanut oil preferably)

See home made laksa paste recipe - HERE 

1. Take water in a pot. Add salt. When it starts boiling tip in the rice noodles. After one boil remove from the gas. Cover it and leave for 10 - 15 minutes. The noodles will be done.
2. Strain the noodles and run under cold water to keep them separate.
3. Heat sesame oil in a pan and add the cleaned prawns. You may leave the tails intact if you like.
4. Saute for a minute until they change colour.
5. Now add the laksa paste and saute.
6. Add the snow peas and spring onion strips.
7. Add 3 cups of water and simmer for few minutes until the prawns are done.
8. Now add the coconut milk.
9. Season with salt, sugar and fish sauce. Add salt carefully as the laksa paste and fish sauce contain salt already.
10. For serving take rice noodles in individual plates. Pour the prepared laksa soup with prawns.
11. Garnish with bean sprouts, coriander leaves and lemon wedges.

Makes two large servings as a main course.

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Monday, September 28, 2015


This Banana Bread is a yeasted slightly sweet sandwich bread that makes particularly excellent peanut butter sandwiches / jam sandwiches. If you flavour it with some spices mentioned below and add fruits to it you can simply relish the bread on its own.

 Here are some suggestions for flavour pairings/ combinations that go well with banana.

 Fruit - Apricot, Blueberry, Cherry, Date, Fig, Guava, Kiwi, Kumquat, Lime, Mango, Orange, Papaya, Passion Fruit, Pineapple, Pomegranate, Raspberry, Strawberry

 Spices - Cardamom, Cinnamon, Clove, Ginger, Tea Others - Caramel, Coconut, Coffee, Dark Chocolate, Hazelnut, Honey, Macadamia, Maple, Oatmeal,Pecan, Walnuts, White Chocolate

Flour ..... 2 cups plus more for dusting.
Bananas .. 1 large or 2 small (make about 1/2 to 3/4 cup puree)
Butter ... 10 gms
Yeast .... 1 tsp
Salt ...... 1/2 tsp
Honey .. 1 tbsp
Sugar ... 1 tbsp
Cinnamon ... 1/2 tsp
Milk ....... 1/4 cup


 Take 1/4 cup lukewarm water. Add sugar and spoon the yeast. Keep it in a warm place until frothy.

Mix the cinnamon powder in the flour in a large bowl.Add sugar, salt, honey, banana puree and butter.

Knead adding the fermented yeast and as much milk required to make a soft dough.

Remove it on the powdered surface for kneading.

Knead it well for 4-5 minutes with the palm of your hand knocking it.

Place in a greased bowl. Cover with a foil and allow it to rise until double in volume.

It takes about 2 hours (more time in winter)

Gently deflate the risen dough and shape it into a smooth loaf .

Grease a loaf tin (8 and 1/2 by 4 and 1/2 ) . Place the bread loaf into it with the folded side down.

Cover the tin and allow it to rise again for 1 hour or more until well risen.Brush it with a little milk on top. If you like you can sprinkle some oats on top otherwise leave it plain.

Bake in a pre-heated oven at 180 C  ( 350 F )for about 40 to 45 minutes.

Allow the bread to cool before slicing it.

Note: The time and temperature may vary a little depending on the size and type of oven used.

Adapted from : (

Linking to :
We Knead To Bake # 31 - My Diverse Kitchen 

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Sunday, September 27, 2015


This is a nice spice mix to prepare and keep handy to make achari dishes. The main five spices are dry roasted lightly and ground to a coarse texture. You can add the remaining spice powders like turmeric, mango powder, garam masala, coriander powder and red chilli powder later while cooking or you can even mix them together and store which makes things much easier.

5 key ingredients of Achari Masala:

Fenugreek seeds/ methi dana  ... 1/2  tsp
Onion seeds / kalonji ............ 1 tsp
Cumin seeds / jeera ... 1 tsp
Mustard seeds / rai ... 3/4  tsp
Fennel seeds / saunf ... 1 tsp

Grind these ingredients with or without roasting(lightly) to a coarse texture.

Other spice powders to mix in the achari masala:
Garam masala ......... 1 tsp
Amchoor powder .... 1/2 tsp
Red chilli powder .. 1/2 tsp
Turmeric powder ... 1/2 tsp
Coriander powder ... 1 tsp

Mix these spice powders with the roasted and ground achari masala for ready use.
This portion is for 1 kilo mutton / chicken
You can make as much  quantity as  you want to store increasing the spices accordingly.

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Check out the dishes made with this spice mix :

Friday, September 25, 2015


Rasam can be classified as a South Indian soup.. It is usually served with plain rice but you can relish it like soup too. In South Indian homes it is made every day with a different flavours like garlic, shallots, ginger, tomato, pineapple etc etc... I had tasted the pineapple rasam for the first time in Hotel Sarvana Bhavan (Chennai) long time back when I lived there. The taste is really unique.

Cooked toor dal ... 2-3 tbsps
Pineapple ............. 2 slices
Rasam powder .... 1 tsp
Tomatoes ............. 1
Coriander leaves .. 1 tbsp
Turmeric powder .. 1/4 tsp
Salt ............. to taste
Sugar ......... 1/2 tsp or a small piece of jaggery (optional)
Tamarind .. soak lemon sized piece in a small bowl of water

Mustard seeds .. 1 tsp
Asafoetida ..... a pinch
Dry red chillies .. 1-2
Curry leaves ..... 1 sprig
Oil ....... 1 tbsp

1. Cut one slice of pineapple into small pieces and grind the other one to a fine paste.
2. Heat oil in a pan and add the tempering ingredients.
3. When they crackle, add the crushed garlic and saute until it is fried.
4. Now add the tamarind water and the cooked toor dal.
5. Tip in the chopped tomatoes and pineapple pieces and also the pineapple paste.
6. Season with salt, sugar, rasam powder and turmeric powder.
7. Allow the rasam to simmer for 4-5 minutes.
8. Add the coriander leaves. and remove from the gas.

See home made rasam powder recipe - HERE 

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Apple Rasam

Thursday, September 24, 2015


Try out this healthy and hearty chicken barley soup. I have made it thin and light just with chicken but you may also add some vegetables to it and make the consistency thicker if you like. Carrots, celery, fennel, leek and mushrooms taste good in this soup.

Chicken ...... 150 gms (boneless strips)
Pearl barley ......1/4 cup
Garlic ............. 2 cloves (crushed)
Red onion ...... few slices
Parsley or coriander .. handful
Cinnamon ...... 1 small piece
Bay leaf ........ 1
Black or white pepper ... for tempering
Salt ...... to taste
Olive oil ....... 1 tbsp

1. Soak the pearl barley for couple of hours. Pressure cook it with 2 cups of water and a little salt until half done.
2. Remove the barley along with water into a bowl.
3. In the pressure cooker pour the oil and saute the crushed garlic.
4. Add onion and stir fry for a minute until translucent.
5. Tip in the chicken strips and saute until the colour changes.
6. Add the half done barley along with the water.
7. Add the cinnamon and bay leaf. Add a little salt.
8. Add 2 - 3 cups water as per your liking of the consistency.and close the cooker.
9. Cook for 2-3 whistles until done.
10. Open the cooker after it cools  down.
11. Discard the cinnamon and bay leaf.
12. Season with black pepper and coriander or parsley leaves.

Serves 2

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